At Whitecliffe we would like to recognise the role that secondary schools play in preparing their creative students for tertiary study. An Offer of Place at Whitecliffe is competitively sought after so it is fitting that we look at the schools that are achieving a high number of places.
Mt Roskill Grammar School (along with Pukekohe High) contributes the highest number of undergraduate students enrolled at Whitecliffe, with 13 students currently enrolled across all four years of the Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Whitecliffe students (pictured) are Keewin Fam (Y2 Graphic Design), Bruce Huang (Y2 Fine Arts), Alastair Fernandes (Y2 Fine Arts), Michelle So (Y3 Graphic Design), Monika Goodman (Y4 Fine Arts), Ada Leung (Y4 Fine Arts), Rosie Chan and Clinton John, both Year 1.
Absent: Crystal Fa’asolo (Y1), Natasha Sharan (Y3 Fashion Design), Ceanne Coutinho (Y3 Fine Arts), Annie Puri (Y3 Photography), Ira Nana (Y4 Fine Arts).
Monika Goodman said: “In my time at Whitecliffe the school has been very supportive and nurturing when I was developing my studio practice. This is something which has helped me to grow and fully understand myself as an artist.”
Ada Leung said: “Whitecliffe is able to nurture an environment where I could grow and think as an artist. What I enjoy about my experience here so far are the type of relationships that could be build between students of all years. The staff at Whitecliffe are also easily approachable and helpful.”
Whitecliffe Faculty member Yolunda Hickman is a former Mt Roskill student who commenced her tertiary study at Whitecliffe in 2006 and graduated with a BFA majoring in Fine Arts in 2009. Yolunda was the joint 2009 recipient of the prestigious Wikiriwhi Scholarship. Yolunda is also an exhibiting artist and is studying for her MFA at Elam.
First impressions are always important. Yolunda said she was struck by the fact that staff greeted her by name when she came in for her Year 1 interview.
“From the beginning I knew that Whitecliffe was friendly, welcoming, and supportive of individual creativity. This culture at Whitecliffe has become even more apparent to me now that I am teaching here. The support I received while studying made an artistic career feel possible and within reach.”
MT ROSKILL GRAMMAR - Small Classes give Mt. Roskill one-on-one advantage
The head of Mt Roskill Grammar School’s visual arts department, Clive Stone, says for such a large school (2300 pupils), the department is small and has a correspondingly small staff. “While there are disadvantages to having a small department there are also advantages. We generally have small classes and this enables us to get to know our students well and provide more one-on-one assistance.”
Clive says the school concentrates on design, painting and photography at senior level, and has a good achievement record in all three disciplines. Students can take a maximum of two Practical Art subjects at Level 3.
“We also teach Visual Culture Studies at Level 3, which has become a popular course, sometimes taken alongside Classics and Media Studies. This course is based on the Art History course but with an emphasis on internally assessed subjects and contemporary periods in Art History. We encourage our students to think about taking Visual Arts into tertiary education and to familiarise themselves with the courses on offer at the various institutions around Auckland and New Zealand.”
Image: Former Mt. Roskill students now studying at Whitecliffe.